Supplement Review: Balancing Estrogen

Sunday, May 31, 2009

PMS, bloating, cramping, water retention, mood swings, painful breasts, endometriosis, PCOS, perimenopause, menopause, hot flashes, weight gain, breast cancer, uterine cancer, fibroids, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer – the joys of being the owner of a female reproductive system. Fortunately, there is a natural supplement available claiming to address a lot of these issues.

Today we are going to talk about a specific phytonutrient, diindolylmethane, or DIM for purposes of saving my typing fingers.

Phytonutrition is basically the dietary use of micronutrients which naturally occur in plants. DIM is a phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale and cabbage.

Now that we’ve got all the big words out of the way, let’s talk about what DIM does. It has been shown to increase the regulation of hormone metabolism (i.e., balancing good and bad estrogens) and could be instrumental in preventing breast and prostate cancer. So, clearly, beneficial to both women AND men.

There is a lot of science behind all of this and I don’t want this to be a long post. I also want to remind anyone that may have forgotten that I am not a doctor so I will just share my personal experience with this supplement and encourage you to research it further if it is something you feel might be of benefit to you.

I came across this supplement, Nature’s Way DIM-Plus Estrogen Metabolism Formula when I was looking for something, ANYTHING, to alleviate hot flashes. Hot flashes sound like something that can’t possibly be all that bad but, trust me, until you experience them for yourself, you will have no idea of how awful they truly are. Unless you enjoy the feeling of burning up from the inside.

Four or five times a day, minimum, I would get hit with these monsters – turning red and dripping sweat off my face, the back of my neck and my chest. Looked like I had just worked out Really Hard. Even worse, the neck sweating was always making the underside of my flat-ironed hair curl up. Ruined my look. And they always seemed to happen when I was talking to someone. Usually someone too young to understand the Law of Diminishing Hormones. Embarrassing. And exhausting, actually.

Anyway, back to my story. So I found this supplement on iHerb and, since it had really good reviews, I decided to try it. The suggested dose is 2 pills per day for women, or 4 for men, taken with food. Oh, and the good news? Small pills, easily swallowed. Doubling the dose is suggested if you are hard core.

The very first day I took them, I had only two hot flashes. And those two were more of just a general warming up and I didn’t break a sweat. By the fourth day, I didn’t have any. And I really think it did something to even out my mood and pull me out of that self-pitying funk I was in. I just don’t think it is just coincidence that my mood elevated within two days of taking this supplement. Of course, I may just feel better because I’m not constantly sweating…

This is the first supplement I’ve ever taken where I can say I actually felt a difference from taking them. These little happy pills will never be far from my room-temperature side.

Apparently there is a lot of undiagnosed estrogen dominance out there. We are subjected to a lot of estrogens from outside sources (xenoestrogens) that are absorbed into our bodies and we may not even be aware of. Yet, I have never had a doctor check my hormone levels. Ever. You would think it would be one of the standards in blood testing, but it’s not. Especially since elevated estrogen levels are what lead to breast cancer, fibroids, endometriosis and bunches of other things that I already forgot. Interestingly, I had a hysterectomy due to fibroids but, still, my hormone levels were never checked.

Okay, so what are the symptoms of estrogen dominance in women? It’s a long list – and you’ll see that a lot of them are the very same symptoms almost guaranteed to get you put on anti-depressants:

• Allergy symptoms
• Breast cancer
• Breast tenderness
• Cold hands and feet
• Decreased sex drive
• Mood swings
• Dry eyes
• Depression, anxiety, irritability
• Fatigue
• Fibrocystic breasts
• Increase risk of strokes
• Irregular menstrual periods
• Headaches
• Hypoglycemia
• Insomnia
• Slow metabolism
• Infertility
• Zinc deficiency
• Osteoporosis
• Uterine fibroids
• Uterine cancer
• Water retention, bloating
• Weight gain
• Hair loss
• Acceleration of the aging process
• Fat gain around hips and thighs
• Polycystic ovaries
• Endometrial cancer
• Memory loss, foggy thinking
• Thyroid dysfunction
• Magnesium deficiency
• Gallbladder disease
• Unstable blood sugar
• Cervical dysplasia
• Prostate cancer
• Ovarian cancer

Gosh, what a fun list! If you are bothered by any of these symptoms, I encourage you to look into DIM. There is a lot of fascinating stuff out there about DIM and its effects on autoimmune disorders. Oh, and read the reviews for it over at iHerb – they always tell me a lot that the supplement manufacturer isn’t legally allowed to say.

Happy hormones, everyone!


Housewife Savant said...

I ordered. Jelly - thanks.

$5 OFF for READERS --

This code (ROL502) will get you $5 off your first purchase at iHerb.

If you use it I get a discount too.

Help a bloated, allergy-suffering, insomniatic, grump out, willya?

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

Hey! I should have thought to give my code! LOL Hope it works out for you...let me know!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

I have never in my life thought about wanting to be a man. Now I'm considering...

Anonymous said...

thank you for posting! very helpful, I'm going to check this out

Nana said...

Happy Hormones? That's what I need.
Thanks for the tip. Why oh why do we women get all the fun?

MaryRC said...

im not hot flashin yet, but when my mom is visiting she keeps me up all night with her flashes, poor thing wanders about looking for a cool spot. i think ill send some to her. fyi my mom is only 15 years older than me so really this experience is not too far in the future for me..

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, gracious, I experience more than half of the symptoms on that list.

And I don't recall giving you permission to use my picture on your post... :-)

Patty said...

That was really funny Tammy Howard! :-)

Excellent information JB! So much great information is coming out about phytonutrients. This is one I had not heard of before.

I definitely have had several of those symptoms. I wonder if upping the intake of cruciferous vegetables would be enough to help? Actually, I am wondering if that is why my symptoms seem to be improving because I have had more broccoli, kale and cauliflower in the past three month than I have had the three years prior to that. Very interesting!

Shelley said...

Wow, I'm amazed at how well this works for you...writing down the info for the future, as I'm not (thank god) having hot flashes yet, but I they're coming, I just know it.

BetteJo said...

Somebody beat me to it - I was going to ask where you got my picture! I share an office with a 55 year old woman who never even had hot flashes and she's always chilly. And there I sit with my clothes sticking to me. Ugh! I will have to check this out! Thanks!

Karen Brown Letarte said...

One of my dear friends was put into artificial menopause as part of her breast cancer treatment and I watched how she suffered with those hot flashes. I fear they are in my not terribly distant future. I was told by my dr. when I was younger and fatter that because fat cells trap estrogen, I was at risk for developing several unpleasant things. I note I already suffer from several of the symptoms of estrogen dominance you list. I am definitely going to give the DIM a try! Thanks for sharing, and I am so glad to hear how much better you are feeling! :) K

Karen Brown Letarte said...

Sorry, one more thing: I just called my local Whole Foods store, and they carry this exact same product, $14.99 for 60 capsules. You may want to check and see if it is available in your area too, that is quite a savings over the $21 listed on Iherb.

Mrs. Jelly Belly said...

I think the 60 capsules are made by Source Naturals (13.01 at iHerb. The Nature's Way, that I have is 120 capsules.

However, I am going to try the SN when I reorder because they have a pretty nice DIM level...a little higher than NW.

Michelle said...

Holy mean I'm not crazy??!! I suffer from a few of these on this list, and just chocked it up as part of being a woman!

Thanks for the info, as always it's great!

soccershoo said...

After trying many, black cohosh, fish oil, vitamin e....nothing worked for my hot flashes. I started DIM today and am exciting to see how it helps.
I use which has real good prices on both products from Source Naturals and Nature's Way. I picked NW to start with because I love their whole food supplement "Alive"

Jade Graham said...

it is unclear as yet how many of the supposed benefits can be verified scientifically. forskolin extract